Downsizing your life

Review of 2015, Preview of 2016

A brief review of our location independent lifestyle in 2015

First, I have had more peace this year than I ever remember in my life. Taking on a caretaking job so that we pay no rent has been a huge stress reliever. We’ve been here since the end of March. We initially came to care for horses, but now the horses have been moved to their new residence, so our caretaking job is relegated to keeping the property secure until it is sold. Quiet. Peaceful. Inspiring.

It’s beautiful here. I’ve lived in a lot of places in my 16 years in Arizona. Our current location is in one of the mildest climates. It’s at an elevation where we actually get a change of seasons, so it’s been fun to watch their progression. It’s in a grassy valley between the Dragoon and the Chiricahua mountains.

Right now, I’m sitting in the living room of our little apartment, in a new recliner given to us by friends. It was given to them, but they had no place for it in their house, so we are the lucky recipients. I’m in front of a cozy fire with my kitty on the arm of the chair.

Today, my writing goal is 2500 words. This is my last write-for-hire novella, and this contract is garnering me the highest amount I’ve ever been paid for fiction writing – $.02 per word, or $20 per 1000. I would normally write 5000 words a day ($100 a day), but I have plans this afternoon.

I’ll have to update the post on Elance and oDesk. Elance is no more, for practical purposes–it has combined with oDesk and the two have become Upwork.

I have written steadily for the two sites for two years now. This has enabled me to collect and create an outstanding portfolio, which has resulted in better offers and higher pay. I now get paid $22.50 an hour for copy writing, and, as I mentioned, $20 per 1000 words for fiction. Contrast that to two years ago, when I started out at $12.00 an hour and $10 per 1000 words.

I was paid $450 for my first 30,000 word novella 18 months ago. I will receive $800 for this 40,000 word novella that I am working on now.

What’s up for 2016?

Why then do I say that this is my last write-for-hire contract? 2016 is bringing changes in our life. By the time we leave this caretaking job, social security will have kicked in for us. Because of the way we have downsized our lives, that will easily pay our bills, and we can write for ourselves. We have discussed many writing projects, and I am greatly inspired.

I will finish up this novella in January. In February, I’m starting a couple of free classes through WordPress’s Blogging University which will help me to get on track better with my blogging.

I will take up the Bradbury Challenge which I told myself last year that I would. The essence of the Bradbury Challenge is to write one short story per week. Ray Bradbury said nobody can write 52 bad stories.

I am planning a couple of anthologies my own short stories. Right now, I’m not setting a deadline. One of the things I have learned in writing for hire is that when someone limits you to a crazy deadline (I want a 30,000 word novella in 4 weeks!), it means only bad writing. And yet I was rehired many times because my writing is supposedly some of the better stuff out there when it comes to genre fiction. Go figure.

So my anthologies will be published when they’re finished–not according to any crazy deadline I set for myself. Of course, I will start “building my brand” so to speak, so that when I do launch an anthology, I will already have an audience for it.

My advice to you, then, for 2016 is to consider if you’re just starting out, but I’ll also include this link which is the best set of suggested websites for which you can write (and get paid) that I have seen. There were several which piqued my interest, and which I am checking out.

If you’re a fiction writer, consider the Bradbury Challenge.

Most of all, be creative in your living. Don’t look at what will make you comfortable, but what will bring you peace. If you find relief from the stress of the world and deep, flowing peace, I guarantee you will also be comfortable–just not in the way you might think.

On to a glorious 2016!